Your 2021 Higher Ed Conference Calendar

7 min read

Benjamin Boivin

After almost of year of a global pandemic, isolation and the itch to take a plane somewhere (anywhere) is really setting in! Yet, for the safety and health of higher education administrators worldwide, some of the most popular annual conferences are once again going virtual, while others are at a socially distanced limited capacity.

Here’s what we know so far in Keystone's 2021 Higher Ed Conference Calendar.

  1. APAIE 2021 Conference & Exhibition

Location: All-Virtual

Dates: March 23–24, 2021 (22–23 in some regions)

The Asia-Pacific Association for International Education has decided to bring some of the most popular sessions from their annual conference all-virtual in response to COVID-19. The all-virtual APAIE 2021 offers one of the most affordable registration fees (USD $50 / AUD $65) with benefits like:  

  • A live Global Dialogue panel session for global insights on international education
  • A series of 20 minute Regional Report sessions, focusing on: Chinese Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand & Australia
  • On demand access to all APAIE 2021 sessions (for 4 weeks following the event)

Who should attend?

International educators, administrators, and policy experts with an Asian-Pacific target market

  1. AAC&U Virtual Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Student Success

Location: All-Virtual

Dates: March 24–26, 2021

After an eye-opening 2020, The Association of American Colleges & Universities raises an important question: What is higher education's role in upholding the values of equity and diversity and in sustaining democracy?

In a continually changing educational and societal landscape, our future generation of leaders are challenged to make sense of everything happening around them. Higher education professionals' role is to help students, domestic and international, understand the interdependence that derives from our common humanity. AAC&U invites students, educators, policymakers, and administrators to join the virtual conference and engage in action-oriented, truth-telling conversations.

Who should attend? International recruiters, diversity department representatives, department chairs and college administration.

  1. AMBA & BGA Global Conference

Location: All-Virtual

Dates: May 10–12, 2021

Association of MBAs & Business Graduates Association

The 2021 AMBA & BGA global conference brings together deans and directors to address the issues affecting business schools and MBA providers. Speakers include deans from some of the best business schools in the world, as well as leading CEOs and entrepreneurs.

Organizers have put together a well-balanced program of events to look at both the local and global challenges that every business school must overcome in the coming decade and post-pandemic.

Who should attend? Deans and directors of business schools and MBA programs.

  1. NAFSA 2021 Annual Conference & Expo: Designing Our Shared Future

Location: All-Virtual

Dates: June 1–4, 2021

After COVID-19 forced the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA) 2020 Annual Conference in St. Louis to go virtual, 2021 is taking similar safety measures and moving the June 1 ­– June 4 Conference (originally scheduled for Orlando, FL) to a user-friendly virtual platform. On the bright side, this won’t be just another Zoom meeting.

Ravi Shankar, NAFSA’s President and Chair of the Board of Directors, writes in his statement, “This online event will make it possible to broaden learning and engagement. Attendees can collaborate virtually in vital conversations with peers from around the world and discover the latest strategies and best practices for the field.”

Who should attend? International educators, administrators, and policy experts

  1. The THE World Academic Summit

Location: Toronto, Canada

Dates: August 31–September 2, 2021

The Times Higher Education World Academic Summit 2021 will be held at the University of Toronto and focus on the evolution of the digital and physical worlds. The theme is “the power of place,” and this year’s conference promises to examine the complex interrelation between a university and its location. One of the key topics discussed also happens to be a burning question unanswered in 2020, “Has digital replaced physical space?”

Who should attend? Vice-chancellors, rectors, presidents, deputy presidents, vice-presidents and distinguished scholars representing higher education and governments 

  1. 32nd Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition

Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Dates: September 7–10, 2021

This year’s conference theme is ‘Bolder. Braver. Go.’ with the opportunity for higher education professionals to channel their urgency, take bolder actions, and tackle our shared global challenges. Attendees of the European Association for International Education Conference can join collaborative sessions, workshops, fast-paced lectures and network with peers during poster session events.



Who should attend? International educators, administrators, and policy experts with a European target market

  1. AIEC 2021 Gold Coast

Location: Australia’s Gold Coast

Dates: October 5–8, 2021

The Australian International Education Conference will host a hybrid event this October where attendees can learn, share, network, and be part of the conversation. This year’s event will allow the higher education sector to reflect on COVID-19 challenges and the innovations they relied on to get through 2020.

Here are the top 10 reasons why you should attend AIEC.



Who should attend? International educators, administrators, and policy experts with an Australian target market

  1. ICEF Berlin Annual Conference

  2. ICEF Berlin Annual Conference

Location: Berlin, Germany

Dates: October 31–November 2, 2021

The International Consultants for Education and Fairs will hold numerous all-virtual and (fingers crossed) in-person events throughout 2021, beginning with ICEF Virtual Eurasia from March 23–25, 2021 and ending the year in Miami, FL from December 6–8, 2021. One of the most popular annual conferences is ICEF Berlin, one of the international education industry’s largest networking events.

In their 26th year hosting the event, ICEF has attracted some of the world’s most talented higher education experts. Looking to meet them? You have the opportunity to build a personalized schedule, meeting up to 80 representatives! In addition, the Conferences offers seminars for when you need a break from all the networking.

Who should attend? Universities working with agencies, language schools and service providers within the higher education industry.

10. NACAC: National Association for College Admission Counseling Annual Conference

Location and date: Seattle, Washington (USA), Sept 23-25, 2021

Every year, NACAC holds an event for college counselors and admissions professionals. This year, the conference travels to Seattle after shifting to virtual delivery in 2020.

In addition to a series of lectures, workshops, and presentations, NACAC also hosts a large exhibition where practitioners and professionals can share their latest ideas on streamlining the college admission process and boosting the overall well-being of the student body. Recent year highlights were stalls promoting on-campus yoga sessions and the introduction of therapy dogs to help students cope with pre-exam anxiety. 

Not to be missed by: admissions specialists and recruitment counsellors, with a focus on the United States.


APAIE Conference & Exhibition

Vancouver, Canada, March 27–31, 2022

33rd Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition

Barcelona, Spain, September 13–16, 2022

NAFSA Annual Conference & Exhibition

Denver, Colorado (USA), May 29- June 3, 2022


Is there an important event in higher education calendar missing from your list? Let us know here.

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